The Case Of The Snow-White Lady: a Sherlock Holmes short story

By Liz Hedgecock

Crime & mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Historical fiction, Short stories

Paperback, eBook

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608
2 mins

 

I

Despite the weak autumn sunlight, there was a distinct nip in the air as I crossed Regent’s Park. The cold wind found its way through my scarf, down my shirt-collar, and even up my trouser-legs, and I quickened my pace until I almost panted as I reached the steps of 221B Baker Street.

Mrs Hudson opened the door herself, and her face was wreathed in smiles at the sight of me. ‘I’m so glad it’s you, Dr Watson. Perhaps you can stir Mr Holmes to action.'

‘Another one of his gloomy fits?’ I asked, hanging up my hat and shrugging off my ulster.

‘I’m afraid so, doctor. He needs a good case.’

‘Well, as it happens, I may have the remedy right here.’ I tapped my pocket and mounted the stairs, smiling to myself at Mrs Hudson’s solicitude.

I found Sherlock Holmes lying on the sofa, his violin in his lap and his bow arm dangling. ‘Things must be bad if you can’t even be bothered to make a noise.’ I took a fingerful of tobacco from the Persian slipper and sank into the chair opposite.

‘What’s the point?’ said Holmes. ‘What’s the point of anything?’

‘To rid the streets of crime,’ I said, somewhat sententiously, as I filled my pipe.

‘Ha!’ snorted Holmes. ‘I catch one criminal, and another fills his place. So dull. And all the same; there’s no variety.’

‘No one said it was fun, Holmes.’

‘I just want a nice easy life. What’s wrong with that?’

It was my turn to snort. ‘Holmes, that is the last thing you want and you know it. Nothing would buck you up more than a juicy case. And I’ — I pulled an envelope from my pocket — ‘have just the thing.’

Holmes’s drooping eyelids snapped open. ‘What is it? Give it to me.’

‘I shall read it to you.’ I drew the letter from the envelope, perhaps a little more slowly than I needed to.

‘Come on, man!’ Holmes’s eyes glittered, and his long fingers twitched.

I unfolded the sheets and cleared my throat. ‘The letter is from an old school friend of mine. We had lost touch, but — as your biographer I also have a certain notoriety.’

‘Out with it!’ cried Holmes.

I smiled to myself, and read aloud:

‘Dear Watson,

Forgive me renewing our acquaintance in this way, with a plea for assistance. I am at my wits’ end. I thought I had been tried enough, but no —

Excuse my disjointed scribbles, but I am beside myself. My only daughter died last month. She was ill for some time, and we knew the end must come soon. But it is not the end. She has been sighted walking abroad in the evenings — on the moor, in the village, in the churchyard! You will say this is fancy and superstition, a ghost, but it is worse than that. Witnesses say she has blood on her lips, and they have seen her pick up dogs and cats, bite them, and suck their blood. The villagers talk of the Snow-White Lady, and I fear my daughter has become — I can scarcely bring myself to write it — a vampire!

Watson, I can trust you. Please come down to Dartmoor and examine my daughter’s body, so that I can set my mind at rest. And your friend, the celebrated Mr Holmes, if he cares to look into this… I am a rational man, not a fool, but the evidence is such to make me doubt every belief that I hold dear. Please wire me by return, and say you will come.

Yours in desperation,

William Holcombe, Esq.’

I looked over the top of the letter, expecting to see Holmes’s eyes fixed on me, but he had vanished with his usual catlike stealth. From the bedroom I heard muffled muttering.

‘Are you all right, Holmes?’ I called.

Sherlock Holmes appeared in the doorway, a shirt in one hand and two neckties in the other. ‘Am I all right?’ He beamed. ‘A death, a moor, a churchyard, and a vampire? Never better, Watson, never better!’ His eyes narrowed. ‘You’ve got a change of clothes in that bag, haven’t you?’

I nodded.

‘Then let us be off! Mrs Hudson, we have a case!’ And the door of 221B banged behind us.

To find out what happens next, visit the book on Amazon.




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